We return to Tim Burton’s Gotham for the 1992 sequel to Batman; Batman Returns.
The film also saw the return of Michael Keaton in the lead role following the huge financial success of the first film. The original story for the film was partly written by Sam Hamm (as with the first film) with Daniel Waters replacing him and writing the screenplay for the film.
In this film we find Gotham more peaceful and preparing for christmas. Local business tycoon Max Shreck (played by Christopher Walken) is championing the construction of a new power station with suspicious motives – Gotham is in a power surplus.
As for villains, for this film, we have 2.
Danny DeVito took the role of Oswald Cobblepot – The Penguin. Abandoned by his parents as an infant into the sewers of Gotham, Penguin has even raised below a zoo by an army of penguins and is now planning his ascension to the actual streets of Gotham.
In addition to DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer took on the role of Catwoman. Lowly, timid secretary Selina Kyle who following a run in with Shreck, takes to the role of the acrobatic, whip cracking feline.
All of these characters collide with their differing motives and plans for Gotham, with only Batman around to try and save the day…
Ultimately the film is an enjoyable sequel to the smash hit that was the original but offers little new. It builds out from its successes but is always slightly worse off with villains that are good (but not quite Nicholson), Keaton (who’s not quite as good as the first) and a plot that makes slightly less sense.
It also lacks some of the darkness of the first film and although it grossed $266m (vs a rumoured budget of $65m) it’s said the the studio were disappointed with the success and decided that for a future film the approach would be more ‘family friendly’. We’ll get to that in the next few days…